June 16, 2024
Art Gallery

My National Gallery – The Reviews Hub

Directors: Phil Grabsky and Ali Ray

The National Gallery, London, holds one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world. When the Gallery was founded in 1824, it held just 38 paintings from the private art collection of the banker John Julius Angerstein. The collection has grown considerably over the last two centuries and today, holds over 2,300 works, spanning the major traditions of Western European painting.

So often the stories we hear from this incredible collection are of the paintings themselves, what they depict, who painted them and why. In this new documentary, My National Gallery, the gallery has turned its gaze back to the viewer, to instead hear the stories of those who have been impacted by the artworks, how and why.

The film begins by sharing stories from some of the art gallery workers, the security guard, the art handlers, the marketing and events people, through to the gallery director. Each person in turns discusses the artwork that impacts them most, and why. So often their choice of artwork is linked to their own personal story, how they were impacted the first time they ever saw the piece, or perhaps the memory of a lost loved one who they first viewed the painting with, or sometimes just a reflection of the way a particular painting resonates with their lived experience.

As well as the gallery staff, the film loops in some high profile personalities such Claudia Winkleman, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Jacqueline Wilson who also speak in detail about the painting that they most hold dear. Along the way, we gain some fascinating insight into how the Monty Python famous foot came to be, and learn about the galleries role as a community and cultural hub during the world wars.

This story telling approach takes viewers on a journey into into some of the lesser known artworks, and importantly, provides very personal glimpses into the power of art, and it’s ability to impact each of us no matter who we are are where we come from. It’s this deeply rooted democracy and profound impact of art that shows the true value of this much loved institution. This well paced, gentle stroll through the gallery is a reflective, personal and enriching experience, not to be missed.

My National Gallery is screening in cinemas nationwide from 4 June.

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